Cool vista tip's



Change Registered Owner of Windows

The registered owner and organization can be easily changed in Windows by changing two registry keys.​

Follow these steps to get started:
  1. Click on the Start Button and type in Regedit in the search box and hit Enter.
  2. Navigate through HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, SOFTWARE, Microsoft, Windows NT and CurrentVersion.
  3. Modify RegisteredOwner and RegisteredOrganization.
  4. Reboot to see your changes.
Change taskbar time to military/international format

  1. Click on the Start Button type in intl.cpl and hit Enter.
  2. Click the Customize this format button.
  3. Click on the Time tab.
  4. Change the time format to H:mm:ss and hit OK.
  5. Hit OK once more to close Regional and Language Options
Change Windows Vista Product Key after install

Do you need to change your product key so that you can activate Windows Vista properly? You can use a great command line tool that will help you do this very easily. Just follow these steps:
  1. Click on the Start Button and key in command prompt so that it shows up on your start menu search list. Right click on the Command Prompt shortcut and select Run As Administrator.
  2. At the administrator command prompt, type in "slmgr.vbs -ipk <insert your product key here>"
  3. To activate windows after changing the key, run "slmgr.vbs -ato"
Check Windows Vista Activation Status

Are you a user of Windows Vista Enterprise or Business edition and would like to know the status of activation of a specific computer? Want to make sure that the computer connected properly to the Key Management Server (KMS) or used your Multiple Activation Key (MAK) properly? Or are you a home user and just want to make sure your computer is fully activated?​

Included in Windows Vista is very useful utility that will help you check the status of activation of your computer:
  1. Click on the Start Button and key in CMD and hit Enter to start up Command Prompt.
  2. At the prompt, type in "slmgr.vbs -dli"
  3. After a few seconds you will be presented with a pop-up message with your activation status.
Command Prompt Power Tips

Here are a few tips that will help you become a Command Prompt Pro:
  • Turn on Quick Edit Mode. This will allow you to easily select, copy and paste all with just your mouse and a right click.
  • When typing in a file or folder name, type in part of the name and then hit the TAB key to bring up matches. Use SHIFT +TAB to go the other direction.
  • When searching for a file, type in dir part_of_filename* to look for the file in the folder. To search sub directories as well, append the /s flag as well. Example: dir exp* /s
  • Use the up arrow to go back over past commands. Alternatively you can hit F7 and go directly to the command.
  • When working with network drives type: prompt $m$p$g to show the full network path along with the drive prompt. Other prompt settings can be found by running prompt /?.
  • You can print the contents of a file by typing: copy file.txt prn
  • Write the output of any command by appending > output.txt. For example, dir > filelist.txt
Create a direct shortcut to Network Connections

The new Network and Sharing Center in Windows Vista is great for the average Windows user but can be a huge headache for advanced users. When I need to make a change to my network settings I don't want to be forced to go through the networking interface for the average non-technical users. I want to go right to the settings screen and make the change.

I am a big fan of the old Windows XP network approach where I could modify all of the network settings and connect to wireless network from the Network Connections screen. In Windows Vista, the Network Connections screen still exists, as shown above, but you have to go through the Network and Sharing Center screen first. Using a very useful explorer trick I discovered when playing with "::" and explorer class IDs, you can create a shortcut that will take you directly to the Network Connections screen.
  1. Right click on the desktop and select New and then Shortcut.
  2. In the location box, copy and paste explorer.exe ::{7007ACC7-3202-11D1-AAD2-00805FC1270E} and hit Next.
  3. Type in Network Connections as the name and Finish.
Your shortcut directly to Network Connections is now on your desktop. I like to create a copy in my quick launch bar for easy access. If you want to change the icon to the correct Network connections icon, the icon can be found in %SystemRoot%\system32\netshell.dll in the first position.

Create a Shortcut for Flip 3D​

Would you like to add a shortcut to your desktop or quick launch bar that launches the new Flip 3D tab replacement?​

1. Right click on your desktop and select New and then Shortcut.
2. Copy and paste RunDll32 DwmApi #105 into the location box and hit Next.
3. Enter in a name for your shortcut and hit Finish.
4. Copy/Cut and Paste your new shortcut where ever you want.​

Disable Windows startup sound​

There was a lot of controversy of the new Windows Start sound in Windows Vista. Originally, Microsoft was planning on making this a mandatory sound that users would not be able to disable. This sounds like a great idea from a Marketing perspective since all Windows users world-wide would hear the same notes when their computer starts up. However from a user perspective this could be a nightmare. Thankfully Microsoft responded to the vocal Microsoft community and gave users the option to disable this sound.​

Follow these steps to disable your Windows startup sound:
  1. Click on the Start Button and type in Sound. Select Sound from the list.
  2. Click on the Sounds tab.
  3. Remove the check from Play Windows Startup sound.
  4. Hit OK.
Easily transfer apps from XP to Vista

Windows Easy Transfer Companion enables you to automatically transfer your most important programs from your Windows XP-based PC to your new Windows Vista-based PC. The software will move more than 100 of the most popular programs, as well as many others that you may have installed. You have complete control over selecting which programs to transfer, so only the programs you care about will move. The software will alert you if some programs may not be able to transfer, or may not transfer with high confidence. Most security software is not able to transfer due to technical reasons.
Easy Transfer Companion is designed to be used in addition to Windows Easy Transfer—which is part of Windows Vista and automatically transfers your data and settings. Connecting your two computers can be done with either an Easy Transfer Cable (available online, from retailers, and from PC manufacturers), or a home or small business network. If using an Easy Transfer Cable, you must first install Windows Easy Transfer on your Windows XP-based PC. By using Easy Transfer and Easy Transfer Companion you will be able to quickly and easily setup your new PC with all the data, settings, and programs that matter to you, so you can be productive on your new PC right away.
Download the Easy Transfer Companion​

Fix hibernate after running disk cleanup​

I have found my first bug in the final code of Windows Vista. A few weeks ago after my hard drive was getting low on space I ran disk cleanup to try to delete some unneeded files. Since I needed a lot of space fast I also checked the option to clear my hibernation file. It turns out that was a big mistake.
After clearing my hibernation file my laptops ability to hibernate was destroyed. It was so badly damaged that I could not get to the control panel hibernation settings to turn it back on. Thanks Disk Cleanup!
The fix is actually very easy to do.. Since the control panel settings were gone, I simply used the the command prompt to turn it back on. If you have a similar problem, run the follow command at an administrative level command prompt to turn hibernation back on:
Powercfg /hibernate on
After a reboot the ability to hibernate is restored.​

Free up Disk Space by deleting backup files​

Windows Vista has loads of new backup features such as previous versions of your documents and system state points that are part of System Restore. All of these features are turned on by default and offer you a great deal of backup protection. However, you pay a big price in disk space. Every once in a while when your system is stable and you need to free up some disk space, it is a good idea to clear all of these previous versions of your files and System Restore points from your computer. This is a very easy way to free up a few gigabytes of space across all of your hard drives.​

To get started, just follow these steps:
  1. Click on the Start Button and key in disk cleanup and hit Enter.
  2. Select Files from all users on this computer.
  3. Select the drive you want to clean.
  4. On the More Options tab, click on Clean Up under System Restore and Shadow Copies.
  5. Hit Delete on the confirmation screen.
How to delete / replace a system file

  1. First you need to take ownership of the file. Run takeown /f "path and file name" to take ownership from a command prompt.
  2. Next, you need to give your account full control permissions on the file. Run cacls "path and file name" /G <your username>:F to get full control from a command prompt.
How To: Detect what process is thrashing your hard drive​

Every once in a while you notice that your hard drive is working extra hard for what seems like no reason. A background process has taken your hard drive hostage, forcing it to thrash loudly as it struggles to keep up with the high rate of reads and writes. Your computer responds slowly as the process overloads the physical limitations of your drive. What are you to do?
The solution is simple, although a little tricky at times: identify and stop the process that is killing your drive. There are two methods and tools that you can use to identify the process.​

Method 1
  1. Click on the Start Button and key in Reliability. Click on the Reliability and Performance Monitor shortcut.
  2. On the main screen click on the Disk section down arrow to see a list of all processes and the files they are writing or reading from your drives.
  3. Click on the Read or Write headings to sort all disk operations to identify which process and file is currently using the disk the most.

Method 2
  1. Visit Microsoft’s Sysinternals web site and download Process Explorer.
  2. After you have started Process Explorer, click on the View menubar item and then Select Columns.
  3. Click on the Process Performance tab and check
  • I/O Reads
  • I/O Read Bytes
  • I/O Writes
  • I/O Write Bytes
  1. You will now see the new columns listed for each process. To identify what process is killing your hard drive, just look for the process with the highest number of Reads or Bytes.

How to: Dual boot XP and Vista​

Application compatibility remains one of the most annoying issues for Windows Vista users. The ability to upgrade the software to a new Vista compatible version is not always an option. The company that developed the application may no longer be around or the cost to upgrade is too high. In my case, I have a lot of classic PC games that will not run at all under Windows Vista no matter how I configure the compatibility options. In order to play my old games I need to install Windows XP. However, I am not exactly ready to give up all of the advances in Windows Vista just so that I can play my old games once in a while. The answer is to dual boot Windows Vista and XP.
Dual booting Windows XP and Vista on the same computer will allow you to select from a boot menu what operating sytem you want to run. This menu is shown right after you power on your computer. Setting up both Windows XP and Vista on one computer can be a little ticky depending what operating system you have installed first. The next two sections will help you configure both versions on your computer, depending on what OS you have installed first:
Windows XP is installed
If you want to dual boot XP and Vista and XP is already installed on your computer you will not have to do much work to dual boot vista. Just boot to your Windows Vista install DVD, select a custom install and install Vista on a separate partition or physical drive than where XP is installed. This will leave your XP install intact and automatically install a boot menu with both XP and Vista listed.
Windows Vista is installed​

If you were like me and compley reformatted your hard drive and wiped out XP when you installed Vista, your setup is going to be a little more complicated. Follow these steps:
  1. Boot up your computer with a Windows XP install CD and install Windows XP to a different partition or physical drive than where Vista is installed. When the setup is finished, your computer will automatically boot into Windows XP. Don’t worry, Windows Vista is still on your computer if you correctly installed XP to a different partition or physical drive.
  2. When you installed XP, the Vista Boot Manager was replaced by the Windows XP boot components. The Vista Boot Manager needs to be fixed by using the Windows Vista install DVD. Boot your computer to the Windows Vista install DVD , click Next on the regional settings screen and then click on Repair your computer in the lower left of the window. Select your Windows Vista install and then run the Startup Repair. This will fix the Windows Boot Manager and Vista will once again startup automatically.
  3. Now we need to add an entry to the Windows Boot Manger for Windows XP. This is done through Windows Vista. When you are back in Vista, open an administrative level command prompt window and run these commands:

  1. bcdedit /create {ntldr} /d "Windows XP"
    bcdedit /set {ntldr} device boot
    bcdedit /set {ntldr} path \ntldr
    bcdedit /displayorder {ntldr} /addlast​
  2. Reboot your computer and test out the new boot menu.
Dual boot has now been configured on your computer. You will be able to enjoy the enhancements of Windows Vista without giving up the ability to run older applications that require Windows XP.

Install Windows Vista on your Mac with Boot Camp​

Ever since Apple switched over to Intel processor, the same processors that are used in some PCs, it has been possible to run Windows on the Apple hardware. Why would you want to do this? While OS X is a pretty OS, Windows applications will not run on it. The only way to run Windows applications on a Mac is to run Windows in a VM. With the Intel based Macs that changed. It is now possible to dual boot OS X and Windows so that you can simply reboot and startup in Windows. Removing the need for the VM by natively running Windows has a big performance benefit. It also makes it possible to do things that were not possible with virtualization software such a 3D gaming.​

To dual boot Windows Vista and OS X without destroying OS X you will need to use Boot Camp that is only included in OS X 1.5 Leopard. To get started, you will need to follow these steps on your Mac:
  1. Using the Finder, navigate through Applications, Utilities and run Boot Camp Assistant.
  2. Click Continue on the Introduction screen.
  3. Next, you will need to specify how you want your hard drive divided up for Windows. A separate partition will be created that Windows will use. Drag the divider to adjust the size for Windows as shown below. I recommend at least 15 GB to allow for the OS and some apps. When you are ready, click Partition and your disk will be prepared.

  1. It is time to start the Windows installation. Insert your Windows Vista install DVD and click Start Installation. Your Mac will automatically reboot and boot to the install DVD.
  2. Install Windows Vista as you would normally do. When asked where to install, select the partition called BOOTCAMP. You will need for format this partition with NTFS.
  3. When Windows Vista has installed, remove the Windows Vista install DVD and insert your OS X 10.5 Leopard install DVD. Run the Boot Camp installer application and all the Windows drivers for your Apple hardware will be automatically installed.

  4. When you want to switch to OS X or Windows, just reboot and hold down the Option key to select what partition to boot.
Make NAS (Network Attached Storage) devices work in Vista

If you are like me and have a NAS device on your network that is not compatible with Windows Vista, now you can tweak Windows Vista to make it work again. You do not even have to wait for your device manufacturer to release a new firmware any more! Just follow these steps below:
  1. Click on the Start Button and key in secpol.msc in the search box and hit Enter.
  2. When the Local Security Policy editor has loaded, expand Local Policies and select Security Options.
  3. Scroll through the list and locate "Network Security: LAN Manager authentication level." Right click on this setting and select Properties.
  4. Change the setting to "Send LM & NTML - use NTLMv2 session security if negotiated"
  5. Hit OK and your NAS will work again.
Using theses instructions I was able to make my 1 TB Buffalo TeraStation work with Windows Vista. Prior to changing the authentication level, I could not access any secured shares on my NAS.

Mount a CD/DVD Image​

Mounting a CD image is a basic feature of almost every operating system package except for Microsoft Windows. Microsoft has never shipped this feature in any version of Windows including Windows Vista. Mounting a CD image is very useful when you have downloaded a .ISO cd image and you do not want to waste the time or the media to burn a copy. Since Windows Vista does not have this functionality built-in, you will need to download a utility. One popular utility that will mount CD images is called elby CloneDrive. Best of all, CloneDrive is free and easy to use. Follow these steps to mount CD images in Windows Vista with CloneDrive:
  1. Visit elby Free Software and download a free copy of CloneDrive.
  2. Install CloneDrive just like any other application.
  3. After it is installed you will see a new virtual drive appear in your Computer drive list.

  1. Right Click on the CloneDrive and select Virtual CloneDrive and then Mount.
  2. Navigate to the .ISO file you want to mount and hit Open.
  3. Your CD image is now mounted. Enjoy!
Show super hidden files

Even if you turn on show hidden files in Windows Explorer some files will remain hidden. These files are super hidden. Set the registry value below to 1.​

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Curre ntVersion\Explorer\Advanced]
"SuperHidden" = 1​

You will need to reboot after changing this setting for it to work.​

Uninstall / Turn off unneeded features​

There are many new features in Windows Vista that are installed by default that you may not need. These extra and unneeded features can slow down your computer and take up more storage space. If you would like to uninstall, or turn off, these extra features, this tip is for you.​

Windows Features can be uninstalled using the Windows Features utility. Follow these steps to uninstall applications such as the Windows Fax and Scan and many more:
  1. Click on the Start Button and select Control Panel.
  2. Under Programs click Uninstall a program .
  3. On the side menu, click on Turn Windows features on or off .
  4. Scroll through the list as shown below and remove the check from any feature you do not want installed.

  1. Click OK when you are finished making your changes. The features will now be uninstalled.
Verify you have signed drivers

Are you having hardware issues with Windows Vista? Almost all Windows Vista issues such as blue screen and random reboots are caused by third-party driver problems. Microsoft signs device drivers that they test and certify that the driver meet certain quality levels. Using Microsoft certified drivers greatly reduces your chances of having driver related issues. However, often applications will install drivers that were not certified by Microsoft and those can cause issues. To check the installed drivers on your computer you can use a cool utility called the Driver Verifier Manager. This is a hidden tool in Windows Vista that can help you identify potentially bad drivers.
  1. Click on the Start Button, key in verifier and hit Enter.
  2. Once the Driver Verifier Manager has started, you will have five options to choose from. I recommend selecting Create standard settings.

  1. Now you need to select what drivers you want to verify. Next select unsigned drivers since those are never Microsoft Certified. (If they were certified they would be signed).
  2. You will now see a list of the unsigned drivers on your computer. When you are finished just hit Cancel.

Disable Welcome Center​

As soon as you install Windows Vista you are bombarded by the Welcome Center that is designed to help beginner Windows users easily configure their new computer. This new welcome screen is a nice feature the first time you start using Windows vista but quickly becomes annoying.
Disabling the Welcome Center is very easy to do and can speed up your boot as well.​

1. Start Regedit.
2. Navigate through HKEY_CURRENT_USER, Software, Microsoft, Windows, CurrentVersion, Run.
3. Right click on the WindowsWelcomeCenter key and select Delete.
The next time you restart the Welcome Center will be gone.​

Enhance SATA disk performance​

Do you have a SATA disk drive in your computer? If so, you can squeeze a little more performance out of your hard disk. This speeds up the performance of your hard disk by enhancing write caching. However, if your computer is not connected to a battery backup and you loose power you have a increased risk for data loss or corruption. If you have a laptop your chances are data loss or corruption are dramatically less since your laptop battery will kick on if your power source is lost. Let's get started:
  1. Click on the Start Button and key in Device Manager and hit Enter.
  2. Expand Disk Drives.
  3. Right click on your hard drive and select Properties.
  4. On the Policies tab, check Enable advanced performance.
  5. Hit OK and close Device Manager.
Increase max IE7 downloads

Internet Explorer 7 only allows you to download two files from the same server at a time. This is not a software limit but rather a limit imposed based on the web standard. Since this is simply a software setting, it can be modified and you can increase the limit to something much high such as 10. Follow the steps below to increase your max downloads from the same server:
  1. Click on the Start Button and type in Regedit.
  2. When Registry Editor loads navigate through HKEY_CURRENT_USER, Software, Microsoft, Windows, CurrentVersion and Internet Settings.
  3. Right click on MaxConnectionsPerServer and select Modify. Set the decimal value to something greater than 2.
  4. Right click on MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server and select Modify. Set the decimal value to something greater than 2.
  5. Reboot.
Increase network performance when playing media

Windows Vista throttles your network bandwidth when you are playing any multimedia file such as an MP3 or a video. This was designed to ensure the CPU has enough free cycles available to play your media without skipping. The down side is that when you are playing a multimedia file you will notice that your network speed of file transfers will decrease on high speed network connections. By default when you are playing a multimedia file your network transfers are limited to 10 packets per millisecond.
In Windows Vista SP1 Microsoft introduces a registry key that allows you to customize this setting.​

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Multimedia\SystemProfile] NetworkThrottlingIndexValue You can set Network Throttling Index Value between 1 and 70. If you want to disable set the hexadecimal value to FFFFFFFF.
Microsoft warns that if you increase the value above 10 you may experience playback quality issues. Depending on your network setup, it is worth experimenting.
After making any changes a restart is needed.​

Quick aero speed tip​

The transparent glass in Windows Vista computer can look very nice. However, on some computers that have underpowered video adapters will see a performance hit when running the transparent glass effect. One way to speed up Windows Vista and still get the benefits of aero, such as flip 3D and taskbar thumbnails, is to disable glass transparency.
  1. Click on the desktop and select Personalize.
  2. Select Windows Color and Appearance.
  3. Uncheck Enable Transparency.
Reliability and Performance Monitor

Windows Vista includes a new and improved Performance Monitor that will allow you to track many system stats much easier than the traditional performance monitor in Windows XP. Follow these steps to use the new Performance Monitor:
  1. Click on the Start Button.
  2. Key in Performance Monitor.
  3. Hit Enter.
Speed up aero (vista glass) by disabling min/max animations

The new animations in Windows Vista look great for the first month or so but then they can become an annoyance since they feel like they increase the amount of time it takes to minimize and maximize a window. If you can live without the minimize and maximize animations that you can bring back the super fast feeling of your windows instantly disappearing and appearing by disabling the min/max animations.​

Follow the steps below to make your windows faster:
  1. Click on the Start Menu and key in SystemPropertiesPerformance and hit Enter.
  2. On the Visual Effects tab uncheck Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing.
  3. Click OK.
Speed up external hard drives

Windows Vista operates external hard drives that are connected with USB differently than internal drives. Write caching is disabled so that you can safely remove the drive at almost any time. This is a great feature for USB thumb drives that are frequently inserted and removed from your computer. But if you have a large hard drive that is in an external enclosure that you never disconnect from your computer, write caching is also disabled which can decrease performance.​

This tweak is going to show you how to increase the performance of your external hard drives by turning write caching back on as well as activating advanced performance. Let’s get started:
  1. Click on the start button, then right click on Computer and select Manage.
  2. Click on Device Manager on the side menu.
  3. Expand Disk drives and locate your external drive from the list.
  4. Right click on the drive and select Properties.
  5. On the Policies tab, select Optimize for performance.
  6. Next, check Enable write caching on the disk and Enable advanced performance as shown below.

  1. Hit OK and reboot.
Enjoy the increased performance.

Speed up Start Menu Search​

When a users enters text in the search box on the start panel Windows automatically searches the file index as well. The file index includes all of the searchable files on your hard drive and can be quite large. One way to speed up searching through your start menu applications is to narrow the scope of the search so that it does not include hard drive files.
Prevent Start Menu Searches from searching the File index:
1. Open Registry Editor (regedit).
2. Navigate through HKEY_CURRENT_USER, Software, Microsoft, Windows, CurrentVersion, Explorer and finally Advanced.
3. Find and right click on Start_SearchFiles and select Modify.
4. Set the Value to 0.
Restart the Explorer.exe process or just reboot your computer.​

Speed up Start Menu Search (New Method)​

he search box on the new Start Menu in Windows Vista can be very useful for everyday tasks. This search box is very powerful because not only does it search the start menu and control panel, but it also searches your pictures, documents and even your e-mails. The scope of the search is very wide and you can see some performance benefits if you narrow it down to just searching the start menu and control panel. Follow these steps to optimize your start menu search:​

  1. Right click on the start button and select Properties.
  2. Click on the Customize button.
  3. Remove the check from Search Communications.
  4. Set Search Files to Don't search for files.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Click OK once more.
Speed up web browsing with OpenDNS

When you type in a domain name such as in your browser the computer must resolve the friendly name into an IP address of the server to download the web page and supporting files. Windows uses a DNS (domain name system) server to lookup this information. By default, Windows uses your ISP’s DNS server. Depending on your provider, the performance of their DNS resolving server varies. Some large national providers are known to provide unreliable and slow DNS servers.
The performance of the DNS server you are using is one component that affects the speed of your internet browsing. Since each domain name you type in must be resolved into an IP address, the amount of time that takes will delay the loading of any web page. Some users with overloaded ISP DNS servers can see delays in multiple seconds before web pages start to load.
OpenDNS provides free alternative DNS servers that anyone can use with any internet provider. Unlike many national internet providers, OpenDNS’s DNS servers are very fast and reliable. Using OpenDNS servers instead of your ISP servers will help you speed up your internet browsing by cutting down on the delay between resolving a domain name and getting the IP address so your browser can start loading the web page.​

Configuring your computer to use OpenDNS servers instead of your ISP’s is a simple change that works in both Windows XP and Windows Vista:
  1. Click on the Start Button and type in ncpa.cpl and hit Enter. In Windows XP Click on the Start Button, click Run and then type in ncpa.cpl
  2. Right click on your active network connection that you use to connect to the Internet and select Properties.
  3. On the Networking / General tab, select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) (version 4 on Windows Vista) and hit Properties.
  4. On the properties screen, select Use the following DNS server addresses and then type in in the preferred and in the alternate boxes.

  1. Hit OK twice and you are finished.

Speed up wireless WAN connections​

In Windows Vista the networking components were designed to be much more intelligent and automatically adjust the network settings to optimize the connection speed. This is a great new feature. Your network components basically tweak themselves for optimal performance. In most situations, these components automatically adjust perfectly for best performance. However, with wireless WAN cards the detection of network conditions is flawed and can result in slower network performance.​

To fix this problem, Microsoft has released a hotfix for users affected by this issue. If you have a Wireless WAN device, I suggest you give this hotfix a try.
KB 940646 details:​

This problem occurs because of the way that TCP receive window auto tuning is used in Windows Vista for connections that only receive data.
Windows Vista obtains a round-trip time (RTT) estimate at the time of connection setup and every time that a new segment of data that is transmitted. A connection that only receives data is limited to the single RTT sample that is obtained at the time of connection setup. Because the connection only receives data, the connection cannot "converge" to the actual RTT of the connection. For example, because the RTT data may fluctuate for various reasons, a "converge" operation is performed to estimate a meaningful RTT by using blending current and previous RTT data. However, if the connection cannot converge to the actual RTT of the connection, the bandwidth delay product (BDP) estimate that Vista obtains is also incorrect. Therefore, the connection's receive window is limited, and throughput of the connected transmission network is reduced.

Speed up your hard drive by scheduling defrags​

The disk defragmenter in Windows Vista was redesigned. I personally do not like the new stripped down interface but one welcome addition is easy defrag scheduling.
Click on the Start Button and type in Disk Defragmenter and hit Enter

Make sure Run on a schedule is checked as shown above.
Click Modify schedule and configure the settings for your computer use. I like to set mine to Daily and late at night since I normally leave my PC on at night.​

Start applications on specific CPU core and priority​

There is a great little utility that has been around for ages in Windows called the start command. This dos command allows you to start any process with advanced settings. In Windows Vista it is perfect if you want to start an application and tell windows to only run it on one CPU and at a high priority level. For example, let's say that you want to start Microsoft Paint and have it run on your second CPU core at Above Normal priority. The command below will accomplish this:
start /affinity 2 /abovenormal mspaint.exe​

You can customize the command above and replace the 2 with the processor number (in hex) that you want the processor to run on. You can also adjust the priority level by using one of the flags below:
  • /Low
  • /Normal
  • /High
  • /Realtime
  • /Abovenormal
  • /Belownormal
Stop auto-start applications on startup

There are two ways to stop applications that start when you startup your computer at login. You can use the System Configuration Utility or the new Software Explorer in Windows Defender. Take a look at the two sections to get control over your startup applications and speed up your computer:​

Disabling auto-start applications with the System Configuration Utility
  1. Click on the Start Button and key in msconfig and hit Enter.
  2. Click on the Startup tab.
  3. Remove the check next to any items that you do not want to startup and click OK.
Disabling auto-start applications with Windows Defender
  1. Click on the Start Button and type in Windows Defender and hit Enter.
  2. Click on the Tools from the top menu bar.
  3. Click on Software Explorer.
  4. Hit Show for All Users.
  5. Select an application and then click either Remove or Disable.
Tweak Indexing Options for More Performance

The indexing service in Windows Vista is responsible for making those search boxes all over the operating system lightening fast. By default Windows automatically indexes all files in your user profile folders, start menu and any files you have setup for offline access. If you have a lot of files in these locations and the files change often you can be putting a heavy load on the indexing service. For maximum performance when using Windows Vista I recommend disabling indexing for all other locations other than the Start Menu. This will lessen the background work that Windows Vista has to do. It will also slow down your searches of other locations but that is the price you must pay for this performance benefit.​

Follow these steps to tweak the indexing locations:
  1. Click on the Start Button and key in Indexing Options and hit Enter. Indexing Options will now load. Hit the Modify button.Next, click on Show all locations.
  2. Scroll through the tree-view and un check any folders you do not want to be indexed. When you are finished, click OK.
  3. If you want to change advanced indexing settings such as what file types are indexed click on the Advanced button. Otherwise hit Close.
Enable Add-ins in Windows Live Messenger

Copy and Paste the following into a .reg file and import it.



Once you import it, restart Windows Live Messenger and under Options you will have a new list item for Add-ins.​

Enable Vista Glass on Intel GMA 950 Graphics Cards​

Currently Windows Vista does not have WDDM support for the Intel GMA950 integrated graphics card. Even though this card is integrated, it supports all of the requirements for Vista Glass. It is just a matter of getting a driver that is compatible with it and vista.
After doing a ton of research, I found that there is another driver that you can actually use for now. There are some problems with it, such if you have a laptop, the external monitor port does not always work but other than that it works great for me on my Lenovo X60.​

This is how I got Vista Glass to run on a GMA950:
  1. First, I had to open up device manager. Click on the start menu and type in devmgmt.msc and Enter to load it up.
  2. Once there, expand the Display Adapters section and right click on each device and select Uninstall.
  3. Reboot the computer.
  4. When it restarts, it should install a generic video driver so your screen will still work.
  5. Go back into Device Manager, expand the Display Adapters section again and then right click on the device and select Update Driver.
  6. This time select Browse My Computer for Driver and then Let me pick it from a list.
  7. Go the the Intel section and select the Intel(R) Lakeport Graphics Controller.
  8. Hit OK and install the new driver. Restart your computer.
  9. Once you have rebooted, right click on your desktop and select Personalize again.
  10. Click on Windows Colors and Appearance.
  11. Click on Open classic appearance properties for more color options.
  12. In the Color Scheme box, select Windows Vista Aero.
  13. Hit OK and glass will now load.
If glass does not work for you, go back to Device Manager and ensure the new display driver is working. You may have to update your system BIOS version. I had to update the BIOS version on the X60 in order for the new driver to work.

Fix iTunes in Windows Vista​

If you are an iTunes user and have purchased any songs from the on-line store you may have some issues when trying to authorize your computer to play back your songs. While authorizing your computer to play your purchased songs iTunes will say everything was successful but you will still not be able to play your songs. Why? Because iTunes is being bad and trying to write to a part of the registry that a normal user does not have access to.​

Currently Apple has said they are working on a Vista compatible version of iTunes. For now, there is a work around that will help you play your purchased songs in iTunes:
  1. Right click on your iTunes shortcut and select Properties.
  2. Click on the Compatibility tab.
  3. Check the Run as an Administrator box on the bottom of the screen and hit OK.
Fix VMWare ESX Management Interface in IE7

Do you use the web-based VMWare Management Interface to control your ESX server and have problems opening virtual machines in IE7?​

Many user have reported that instead of getting the open prompt in IE7 they get a find option instead. To fix this, you need to define the application/x-vmware-console MIME type so IE7 allows you to open the file.
  1. Open up notepad.
  2. Copy the text below into notepad:

  1. Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\MIME\Database\Content Type\application/x-vmware-console]

  2. Save the file with a .reg file extension and then import the file into your registry.
  3. After a reboot VMWare will now work properly.
How to install Windows Server 2008 Administrative tools on Vista SP1

With the release of Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista SP1 Microsoft removed the old management tools that shipped with RTM Vista. When you install Windows Vista SP1 you will notice that the Group Policy Management Client (GPMC.msc) and other features are no longer available. They have been uninstalled from your system.
Microsoft replaced the old uitilities with updated version in the Remote Server Administrative Tools (RSAT) package.
Download the 32-bit version for Vista SP1
Download the 64-bit version for Vista SP1

Once you have downloaded and installed the administrative tools you need to turn the features on.
  1. Open Control Panel and go to Programs and Features.
  2. Click Turn Windows features on or off located on the side menu.
  3. Check Remote Server Administrative Tools and hit OK.
Make a shortcut to clear your IE7 browsing history & Internet files

Would you like to make a shortcut that will clear all of your personal information from IE7? Using a cool trick it is very easy to call the API's that the Delete Browsing History box in IE7 uses to clear your Temporary Internet Files, Cookies, History, Form Data and Stored Passwords. Follow the steps below to make a shortcut that clears all of these items or just a specific item:
  1. Right click on your desktop and select New and then Shortcut.
  2. For the location of the item, enter one of these values:
    • Clear Temporary Internet Files:

    • RunDll32.exe InetCpl.cpl,ClearMyTracksByProcess 8
    • Clear Cookies:
      RunDll32.exe InetCpl.cpl,ClearMyTracksByProcess 2
    • Clear History:
      RunDll32.exe InetCpl.cpl,ClearMyTracksByProcess 1
    • Clear Form Data:
      RunDll32.exe InetCpl.cpl,ClearMyTracksByProcess 16
    • Clear Saved Passwords:
      RunDll32.exe InetCpl.cpl,ClearMyTracksByProcess 32
    • Delete All:
      RunDll32.exe InetCpl.cpl,ClearMyTracksByProcess 255
    • Delete All w/Clear Add-ons Settings:
      RunDll32.exe InetCpl.cpl,ClearMyTracksByProcess 4351
Once you have entered in the command in the location box hit Next.
Type in a name and hit Enter.
When you are finished you can drag your new shortcut to the Quick Launch bar or even into the Startup folder of the Start Menu to make Windows automatically clear your history when you log in.

Make XP computers show up in Vista's Network Map​

The new Network Map in Windows Vista allows you to easily create a map of all computers on your network and see how they are connected. This works by using the Link Layer Topology Discovery (LLTD) protocol that is only part of Windows Vista.
To help users of mixed environments of both Windows Vista and Windows XP, Microsoft has released the Link Layer Topology Discovery Responder for Windows XP. This will make your Windows XP computers show up in the Network Map in Windows Vista.
This package contains the Link Layer Topology Discovery (LLTD) responder. The network map on a computer running Windows Vista shows a graphical view of the computers and devices on your network and how they are connected by using the LLTD protocol. The LLTD responder must be installed on a computer running Windows XP before it can be detected and appear on the network map. After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer.
Click here to download the update for Windows XP SP2​

Resize Partitions with Vista Disk Management​

In Windows Vista it is now possible to resize partitions without any data loss in the new Disk Management console.​

Resizing Partitions with Windows Vista:
  1. Click on the Start Button and right click on Computer and select Manage.
  2. Expand the Storage section and select Disk Management.
  3. Then just right click on any partition and select either Expand or Shrink to change the size of the partition.
This will allow you to safely resize your partitions without any data loss.

Stop those annoying registration boxes that won't go away​

Have you recently installed a system utility or a productivity application such as Adobe Photoshop or Macromedia Dreamweaver and have been bombarded with registration messages that pop-up every time your start the application? Even when you check the box and tell the application never to remind you ever again?
This happens to me all the time and is very annoying. The culprit of this problem is... you guessed it, UAC!
Your application keeps asking you to register because the registry key that it checks to see if you should still be harassed into registration is never getting set thanks to UAC. When I check the box or hit the Never remind me again button the registry write gets virtualized because the app tried to write to a part of the registry a standard user does not have access to. This is a feature of UAC and it does a great job of redirecting the registry write so the application does not crash out. However, since the application is not aware of this virtualized write location it keeps checking the registry value of the key in the normal location. Since the application has read only access to that location the key will keep getting virtualized every time you check the box and is why the registration boxes keep popping up.
How do you get out of this mess? Real simple, just run the application as an Administrator. This time UAC will not be in the way and the app will be able to write the never annoy me ever again with this stupid registration box key setting.
This simple trick will also work for some applications that pop up other information and do not respect the stop annoying me again option.​

Advanced Windows Firewall: Turn on outbound filtering​

Windows Vista includes a two-way firewall that has outbound filtering disabled by default. Why? The best explanation that I got was that it was too complicated for end-users to use so they had that feature turned off as well as hidden. In fact, it is hidden so well that many users may think that the two-way firewall was yet another feature that was pulled from the final product. While that is true for other features the two-way firewall made it into the final product, you just need to know how to find it.
To get started, just click on the Start Button and key in wf.msc and hit Enter. This will bring up the comprehensive Windows Firewall with Advanced Security management interface. Here you will be able to configure rules for incoming as well as outgoing connections.​

make sure that you set the default action for outbound connections from allow to block. Otherwise the outbound firewall will be useless because it will allow all connections. This can be done from the Windows Firewall Properties link found on the main screen of the management interface.​

Create an Account Lockout Policy​

how you can protect your computer against anonymous user account attacks by turning on account logon auditing so you could see when someone attempts to remotely logon to your account. Now I am going to help your increase your level of protection with the Account Lockout Policy.
Creating an Account Lockout Policy will protect your account by limiting the number of time a remote application or attacker can try to guess your password. This works by automatically locking out your account after a designated number of incorrect passwords were entered. Your account will remain locked out for a designated period of time before it is automatically unlocked and it can be logged into again. This provides a valuable addition to your account security because it can render brute force password attacks useless. If you have your lockout threshold set to 4 bad attempts and the lockout duration to 15 minutes, an attacker can try to guess your password a maximum of 16 times per hour.​

Now that you know how valuable an Account Lockout Policy is, let’s get it setup on your computer:
  1. Click on the Start Button and key in Secpol.msc and hit Enter.
  2. Navigate through Account Policies and Account Lockout Policy.
  3. Right click on Account lockout threshold and select Properties.
  4. Enter in the value you want to use and hit OK to save. I like to use 4 here.
  5. Windows will set the default values for the lockout duration and Reset account lockout counter values. If you want to change these values from the defaults (30 minutes), right click on them and select Properties. After making your changes hit OK to save and exit.
Disable UAC (User Account Control)​

Had enough of the constant UAC Authorization pop-up boxes? And given up. There is a easy way to disable user account control so that you never have to deal with the approvals and requests for consent ever again. Just follow these steps below:
  1. Click on the Start Button and go to the Control Panel.
  2. In the Control Panel search box, search for "disable uac".
  3. Click on Turn User Account Control (UAC) on or off.
  4. Uncheck Use User Account Control (UAC) to help protect your computer.
  5. Hit OK.
Goodbye UAC!

Disable USB storage device write (make them read-only)​

In the corporate world, a lot of time is spent on locking down computers to minimize the risk of confidential information leaving the company. With the popularity of USB storage devices in recent years the problem for large corporations has exploded. Almost all users want to use USB storage devices to move data around. With the size of USB storage devices increasing so much in recent years, the risk is increasing as more and more data could possibly be stolen or lost accidentally. In companies, USB storage devices have been banned completely and disabled from use on company computers.
In Windows Vista there is an alternative that will allow your corporate users to be able to read from USB storage devices but not write any data to them. Effectively turning on USB storage devices for all users but making them read-only. This way users can still read information off of USB storage devices that a third-party vendor may provide data on while preventing the employee from writing any data back to the storage device.​

To setup read only USB storage device operation, follow these steps below:
  1. Click on the Start Button and type in Regedit and hit Enter.
  2. Navigate through HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Contro l.
  3. Right click on Control and select New and then Key. Call the new key StorageDevicePolicies.
  4. Right click on StorageDevicePolicies and select New and then Dword. Call the new dword WriteProtect.
  5. Right click on WriteProtect and select Properties. Set the value to 1 and hit OK.
The computer is now configured to disable writing to USB storage devices.

Turn on auditing to monitor account attacks​

There is no doubt that all of the security features in Windows Vista will help keep your computer secure. However, these features become less valuable when they are not turned on by default. One feature, known as user account auditing, is not turned on by default. With this feature is turned off, anyone with physical access or remote access to through a hole in your firewall (such an opening for Remote Desktop) can use a brute force attack against your user account for as long as they want without getting noticed at all. How? The default audit security policy is configured to not log any account logon events, successful or failed.
This allows an attacker to try to hack your accounts for as long as it takes to break in. There are a few ways to protect against this that I am going to go over in my next article about the Account Lockout policy. But first, it is important to turn on this account auditing so that you can see who may be trying to break into your accounts. After you have adjusted the auditing security policy, you will be able to see any account attacks including the account that they tried to logon with and where the request came from.​

Let's get started and turn on audition for failed logon events:
  1. Click on the Start Button and key in secpol.msc in the box and hit Enter.
  2. Navigate through Local Policies and Audit Policy.
  3. Right click on Audit account logon events policy and select Properties.
  4. Check the Failure box and hit OK.
  5. Right click on Audit logon events policy and select Properties.
  6. Check the Failure box and hit OK. Your screen should now look like the figure below:

  1. Close Local Security Policy editor.
Your computer has now been configured to log all failed user account logon attempts.
Once you have turned on account auditing, you can view the logs in Event Viewer (run eventvwr.msc) under Windows Logs and Security.​

Use BitLocker Drive Encryption without TPM chip​

Windows Vista includes a new hard drive encryption feature called BitLocker Drive Encryption. BitLocker can be a very useful security feature for businesses and home users that have sensitive and confidential information stored on their computer. Unfortunately, BitLocker Drive Encryption by default requires a Trusted Platform Module (TPM Chip) version 1.2 or later installed in your computer. A lot of the computers and laptops on the market do not come with TPM chips installed since they are typically only found in premium model business computers. If you have Windows Vista Business, Ultimate or Enterprise but do not have a TPM chip, you can still use BitLocker Drive Encryption.
Hidden away in local group policy is a setting that will allow you to turn on the ability to use a USB storage device instead of a TPM key to store the encryption key. This is a great feature for users that don't have the latest high-end hardware because you can still use hard drive encryption. However, every time you turn on your computer, the USB storage device that has the encryption key located on it must be plugged in. Without it, your computer will not boot up. One BitLocker Drive Encryption is setup with a USB storage device, that USB storage device basically becomes the key to your computer.​

Follow these steps to turn on the ability to use a USB storage device with BitLocker Drive Encryption on hardware that does not have a TPM device:
  1. Click on the Start Button and key in gpedit.msc and hit Enter.
  2. Navigate through: Computer Policy, Administrative Templates, Windows Components and BitLocker Drive Encryption.
  3. Right click on Control Panel Setup: Enable advanced startup options and select Properties.

  1. Check Enabled and hit OK.​
Create a 360 degree Virtual Desktop

A new product called 360 Desktop introduces a new way of thinking about virtual desktops. Instead of having different desktops or desktops on a cube why not have a desktop that you can scroll horizontally forever. 360 Desktop converts your desktop into a very wide never ending desktop in the shape of a cylinder. Instead of changing desktops to view different applications just scroll horizontally. 360 Desktop is even better when using one of the 360 degree panoramic wallpapers that it comes with. This will make you desktop look amazing. Best of all, 360 Desktop is free!​

Safari for Windows​

I never thought I would see this on Windows​

"Safari has always been the fastest browser on the Mac and now it’s the fastest browser on Windows, loading and drawing web pages up to twice as fast as Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 and up to 1.6 times faster than Mozilla Firefox 2."

Click here to download Apple's Safari web browser for Windows.​

Edit: works on xp sp1,2,3 vista (all) x86 + x64 (32 + 64 bit)
apple safari for windows claims of being faster than mozilla firefox are true. the downside is the lack of free security plugin's. like ad block and no script​

Virtual PC 2007 (Free)​

Use Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 to run multiple operating systems at the same time on the same physical computer. Switch between virtual machines with the click of a button. Use virtual machines to run legacy applications, provide support, train users, and enhance quality assurance.
Virtual PC lets you create separate virtual machines on your Windows desktop, each of which virtualizes the hardware of a complete physical computer. Use virtual machines to run operating systems such as MS-DOS, Windows, and OS/2. You can run multiple operating systems at once on a single physical computer and switch between them as easily as switching applications—instantly, with a mouse click. Virtual PC is perfect for any scenario in which you need to support multiple operating systems, whether you use it for tech support, legacy application support, training, or just for consolidating physical computers.​

Vista Shortcut Overlay Remover​

FrameworkX has a great little utility that will help you tweak your shortcut overlay.​

Windows Sidebar Styler​

Windows Sidebar Styler takes advantage of the new technologies introduced in Windows Vista™ in order to provide extensions to the existing functionality of Windows® Sidebar.
Custom styles allow for resizing and customizing the appearance of Windows Sidebar so that it fits other UI elements, such as the Aero Glass colorization or an actual third party theme. Designers could save their visual styles so that other Windows users could apply them. Designers would not necessarily create these files on Windows Vista - Windows Sidebar Styler is backward-compatible with legacy operating systems as well.
Download Now for free!​

Windows Vista Hardware Assessment Network Tool​

The Windows Vista Hardware Assessment is a tool that will find computers on a network and perform a detailed inventory of the computers using Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI). Through use of the detailed inventory data, the tool will assess and report whether the computers can run Windows Vista, where to find drivers for devices on the computers, and provide recommendations for hardware upgrades, where appropriate.​

The Windows Vista Hardware Assessment tool does not require the deployment of agent software on the computers being inventoried and assessed. It provides a secure, quick, and easy way to determine which computers, in a networked environment, are Windows Vista ready.
Click Here to download.

Windows Vista VHD (Virtual Hard Disk for Virtual PC)​

Microsoft has released a new virtual hard disk image (VHD) that has Windows Vista pre-installed. Using the hard disk image you will have Windows Vista running in a virtual machine in just a few minutes.
Click here to download the Windows Vista virtual machine VHD image.
Click here to learn more about Microsoft Virtual PC​